Roger Huntington is one hell of an unlucky guy. Or is he? You see Roger survived a harrowing, life-altering ordeal that left him with complex PTSD and quite possibly psychosis of the full blown kind ten years ago, and now, just when he decides to end his therapy (having already come off his meds), his major crush and her boyfriend have been kidnapped. And guess what? Roger, who is no longer afraid (as he tries to reassure himself repeatedly), is the only person who can save them! Except he's about to get into something far deeper than his admittedly very-active imagination could have conceived ...
Ryan C Thomas' follow up to the stunning The Summer I Died (which also happened to be one of my Top 10 Horror Novels I read in 2013) is a pretty damn good sequel. It ups the ante in terms of players, pits Roger against a foe that is far more mysterious than a backwoods psychopath, and even manages to build upon the mythos established for his character in an interesting way. Of course, it's not a patch on its predecessor in terms of intensity or gut-wrenching horror - but then, it was never going to be. Instead it's a page-turning thriller which features one significantly gore-laden scene that will likely have casual readers vomiting into the mouths (if just a little). Hardened horror veterans such as myself may only wince, but then, we knew Thomas had to deliver something of this order after everything that occurred in The Summer I Died.
Ultimately, how good Born to Bleed is will likely rest on how the remainder of the ROGER HUNTINGTON SAGA plays out. If it ups the ante and takes Roger and his "gift" to new and interesting places, then this will be viewed as a good bridge to those events. It not, it might be dismissed as the book where Roger and his saga began to fall away - more specifically, right about the time a bald-headed man started appearing among statues of wolves and repeatedly nodding approval at Roger's desperate efforts to survive.
3.5 Rarest of Rare Meats for Born to Bleed.